Designing the Brief

A brief guide

In order to buy effective design, the designer needs to have a brief. There is sometimes a gap between what the designer needs and the information and guidance they get!

So we sat down and came up with this 'brief guide' to help you give your designers the information they need to do the best job for you.

Who is your Customer?

  • Consumer 
  • Small Business
  • International Corporation
  • Government
  • Private Consumer
  • Charity / Not For Profit
  • Public Sector
  • Professional

If your ideal customer is an 'individual consumer' - who is the idea customer ?

  • Gender 
  • Age group
  • Life stage
  • Income (Low/Medium/High)
  • Avant Garde or Laggard
  • Local / Regional / National

What is your product or service?

  • Outline description
  • Differentiators
  • Unique selling points

Where does your product or service fit into the market?    

  • Commodity (ie lots of competitors and mainly price/service competition) 
  • Premium products (ie few suppliers of high value differentiated product)
  • Mature
  • Innovative 

Are there significant fixed points that are not changeable because of historical/cost reasons?

  • Colour
  • Logo 
  • Typeface
  • Language
  • Legislative restrictions on content (eg Financial services)

Have you done any marketing before?

  • Supply samples if possible

Have you had an identity designed?

  • If you can supply artwork if will help reduce time and therefore costs
  • Most designers will ask for EPS (Encapsulated Postcript) / Adobe Illustrator (AI) file types
  • JPEG and PNG or PDF are of some use but they lose quality when the size is changed for different uses.

Have you got high quality original relevant photography?

  • Images are vital and the better the photograph, the better the results of your site.
  • If you need stock imagery there are inexpensive stock libraries most designers use.

Who are your biggest competitors?  
This helps the designer to see the context of your product and will help to either make the what you buy 'fit in' or 'stand out' 

  • Locally
  • Nationally
  • Internationally

What do you like?  (please supply examples, and if possible what it is you like about them)
This helps the designer to understand what you value and guides the thought process.

  • Websites
  • Emails
  • Adverts
  • Packaging
  • Cars
  • Products

What you DON'T like? (please supply examples, and if possible what it is you don't like about them)

  • Websites
  • Emails
  • Adverts
  • Packaging
  • Cars
  • Products


What is the objective of the work?

  • Sell more
  • Change perception
  • Reinforce position
  • Update image
  • Adapt to seasonal factors
  • Manage your own content
  • Open new markets
  • Launch new products to existing clients
  • Reposition existing products to new customers
  • Complete Diversification 
  • Liberate yourself from a metaphorical 'hostage situation'

Social networks are increasingly important in directing traffice to websites.... which ones do you engage with?

Search engines are highly effective at reading your content and placing your site in context, but in order to help them gauge your content and lear about your site, 'meta tags' (invisible groups of words that describe the content of your website to help the search engines) The meta tags must describe the content of your website (or you will be penalised) so think of the meta tags as an executive summary of your website content.

150 Words

It is helpful to supply 150 words (The number is important) that summarise your website.  This information can be used by your designer to create invisible but vital 'tags' or labels that help the search engines do their thing!

This information is normally elicited by account managers or designers during the initial interview but it all adds up to create a holistic view of the design requirements and helps to make the work done fit the requirement right from the outset:  This means best value for the client and minimum wasted time for everyone.